Last night the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety held a hearing at the Connecticut State Capitol where the parents of children massacred in Sandy Hook took stands on gun laws. Neil Heslin, argued for a ban on assault weapons, saying: “The sole purpose of those AR-15s or AK-47s is to put a lot of lead out on the battlefield quickly, and that’s what they do and that’s what they did [at Sandy Hook.]” At Thought Catalog, this case against gun control has been fleshed here.
The more startlingly argument came from Mark Mattioli, whose son James, 6, was also murdered at Sandy Hook. Mark notes,”I don’t think the gun laws are protecting the people. I want responsible legislation. It needs to be simple and it needs to be enforced.” Mark added further, “The problem is not gun laws, the problem is a lack of civility.”
To offer an opinion, I tend to agree more with the appeal made by Mark. Though, as someone not affected by gun violence directly, it may not be worth much. In all life, there is a great divide between theory and reality, law and enforcement, intention and consequence and perhaps what is needed is not more abstract laws, but more concrete ways to enforce existing ones, as well as just greater moral teaching from our parents and communities.
I know conservatives would agree with that opinion, perhaps though Obama would too, who wrote in the Audacity of Hope back in 2006, “I also believe that when a gangbanger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we have a problem of morality. Not only do we need to punish that man for his crime, but we need to acknowledge that there’s a hole in his heart, one that government programs alone may not be able to repair.”
Maybe in tragedy we can all find common ground.